This evening, Prime Minister Rutte gave a press conference in which the next stage of the Netherlands’ plan for relaxing social distancing rules was explained.
There was a whole lot of information in this one. We’ve grouped it per date, but it’s very important to note that only those set to occur on 11 May are for sure at this point. The other planned relaxations will only take place if the numbers of deaths, and hospitalisations, and the pressure on the healthcare system, remain low.
Minister de Jonge also said that we would not be rid of coronavirus until a vaccine was made available, so we have to work on living with the virus for the moment. It is crucial that everyone sticks to the rules.
We must get used to the new normal, and instead of using the slogan “Stay Home (Blijf Thus)”, the Dutch government will now use “Avoid Crowds (Vermijd Drukte)”.
The two things that need to be monitored as relaxations take place are the amount of people on the streets, and the pressure on the healthcare system.
11 May onwards
Primary schools will reopen.
All contact professions can also reopen. Customers don’t need to wear facemasks, but they do need to keep 1.5m from each other, which means that not all stools in the hairdressers can be used. Furthermore, hairdressers can only work with customers who have made an appointment, so that they can be asked in advance if they have symptoms connected to coronavirus.
Libraries may reopen.
Sports that are played outside and are non-contact can be played again by anyone, including adults.
Those with contact professions, teachers, and those who work with children can be tested.
18 May onwards
A few more groups will be test-able, such as police officers and public transport operators.
1 June onwards
Everyone can be tested.
On 1 June, public transport will resume its usual services, and wearing a facemask will be compulsory if you travel by bus, tram or train. These don’t need to be medical grade, because of course, ordering people to use surgical masks would create a shortage in the healthcare sector, where they are badly needed.
Terraces can reopen, but with a few conditions. Customers can reserve a table in advance, during which they will be asked if they have coronavirus symptoms (just like if you make an appointment at a hairdresser, for example).
High schools will reopen.
Museums can reopen. So can theatres, cinemas, and so forth, but with certain conditions: only 30 people are allowed in the same room, and they must keep 1.5m from each other.
15 June onwards
MBO education and MBO exams can start up again. A plan will be made to reopen other higher education institutions.
1 July onwards
Group activities with up to 100 people can take place. These include weddings, funerals, and so forth.
Camping sites can reopen, and communal showers and toilets can be used again.
1 September onwards (hopefully)
All sports can happen and gyms can open again. The government is looking into whether gyms can be reopened sooner than this. Saunas and pools will also reopen.
A decision will be made about whether festivals and other public gatherings can continue at this date.
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Feature Image: Abuzer van Leeuwen/Supplied.